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00:30:00

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San Francisco 8, Dr. Faulkner 4, Russ Baldwin 1, The City 1, Schwarzenegger 1, City Hall 1, New England City 1, City 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    October 11, 2012
    2:00 - 2:30pm PDT  

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election where they are the only two offices on the ballot. and turnout is always extremely low in that election. and it costs us over $4 million dollars to hold that election. proposition d would move the city attorney and treasurer elections to be on the same ballot as the mayor, which is a much myer turn jut election, so more people would be voting for city attorney and treasurer and every time we don't hold that very low turnout odd year election separately for city attorney and treasurer, we'll save 4.2 million dollars. prop d was put on the ballot unanimously by the board of supervisors and it's been endorsed overwhelmingly by both the democratic and republican party. >> dr. faulkner, do you think this is a good idea. >> it has several problems. the original theory is the charter of 1932 was to stagger elections so people would pay more attention to each office, in other words, elect a couple
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offices each time and do it on an annual basis. this has been modified with various charter amendments but the new charter but the other way theoretically you have more people involved, but in practice when you have those 3-page ballots printed on either side, offices get lost. things like city attorney and city treasurer will get lost in the shuffle. the big problem is city government, making sure the people actually pay attention. we have had a problem for a long time with san francisco and dysfunctional san francisco. that's depending on other city issues that are up, the coalition to san francisco neighborhoods is going against them. we have a city government that's very out of touch in many ways and we're, frankly, annual elections would be very wise to keep the people
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paying attention it what's happened. we have very strong developer interest, strong lobbyist influence, and very little public interest. things get sidelined and they wonder why things suddenly get opposed like the park bond which is being heavily opposeopposed. >> thank you. supervisor, do you believe having the elections all at one time is better for the electorate or does it get lost when you have so many positions up for election? >> since he did raise the issue of the parks bond, we're not here for that. the parks bond has very overwhelming support. going back to prop d, there's a balance to be struck. i agree if we only had, if we elected everything from president to dog catcher all on 1 ticket at some point it gets to be too much, but if you spread everything out too much, we could have separate
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elections for like two offices here, two offices there and have multiple elections every year. yes, that would give more air time to each individual election but no one would vote and you'd have extremely low turn out elections. so for the city attorney-treasurer elections at issue here, even though they have higher prominence in their stand alone odd year election, when only 15, 20 percent, maybe 25 percent in a good year, are actually voting in that election, what's the point? more prominence but no one's actually voting for it. a bad turnout for a mayoral election is better than a good turnout for city attorney-treasurer stand alone election. so combining those elections gives a bad balance in terms of increasing voter participation and improving our budget situation. >> thank you. dr. faulkner, if we don't have good voter turnout for the odd
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year for the city treasurer position, why not combine it with the rest? >> as i said, annual elections at least keep people paying attention. the history of san francisco, which is not a good one, we have had a lot of corruption over the years, russ baldwin, the roof ring, the history of san francisco is pretty open. we have had a tremendous amount of developer influence at city hall, a tremendous amount of lobbying, the people are pushed out of it. we need more public participation. originally odd elections were scheduled for the mayor's race, we do not schedule it with the president for that reason. with the first repeal of district elections the people who did the first repeal suddenly moved it over to presidential and
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gubenatorial elections and changed the pattern. >> dr. faulkner, excuse me for a second. i'm trying to get back to the point here. if we don't feel there's sufficient voter turnout in the treasurer cycle, why not put it with the all the rest. >> first of all we usually have other measures up at the same time including ballot measures, bonds and all the rest. usually those annual elections are important. often they are combined with stake wide elections anyway. the 4 million he is talking about is an illusion because we frequently have special elections for the state as well. that's a very persistent thing under schwarzenegger and a lot of people. >> supervisor, we have a little time left and i would like you to conclude and give your opinion why you think we should be voting for this. >> in 2001 we elected city attorney and treasurer in an
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election that had i think something like 12 or 13 percent turnout. these are two very, very important positions, we should maximize turnout. i think it makes perfect sense to elect these positions with the mayor. i can't tell you how many people after i proposed this at the board of supervisors, paepl on the board, off the board, came up to me and said why didn't anyone think of this before, it makes so much sense. it will save us money, it will mean more people voting for city attorney and treasurer and if that's not democracy, i don't know what is. there's a reason why this is getting such broad support and i think it deserves the voters' support. >> thank you. and dr. faulkner, would you please summarize why you believe people should be voting against this measure? >> originally it was all odd year elections for city government. the main focus was to have a lot of elections spread out so people would pay attention. that was the idea of the 1932 charter. it is
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good in the sense given the history of san francisco and, frankly, a lot of governmental problems we had historically, getting people to pay attention to city government has been very important. we had 1901 to 1907 a group called roof ring, they described the 18 supervisors then on the board as, quote, so corrupt they would eat the paint off the walls. that's the reason why we want people to pay attention to their city government. frankly, new england city governments are the small ones and tall hall government is the best of all. we can't do that. but we can give people is exposure to city government, it avoids a lot of problems. we have had a lot of mistakes. (inaudible) was not built when they put in the
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underground, that caused umpty million dollars to correct. >> we hope this discussion was informative. for more information on this and other ballot measures in this year's election, please visit the san francisco league of women voters at sfvotes.org. remember, early voting is available at city hall monday through friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm if you don't vote 5:00 pm if you don't vote
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the city of san francisco sfgtv meeting for the government audit and oversight, occurring on jawct 11, 2012, will begin shortly.
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